Office of Sponsored Programs Administration & Accounting


REMINDER: Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Updates from the Director


As we approach the end of the semester and the end of the fiscal year, there could be items to consider in relation to grant activity. By now you should have received, certified, and returned documentation on any Fall 2012 effort on existing grants. If you have not done so, please certify this effort as soon as possible. Feel free to contact Kyra Shiflet at 8/7108 with any questions about the effort certification process.

Additionally, many of you have grants coming to an end on June 30, 2013. It is essential to begin finalization of programmatic activities, authorization of final expenditures, and begin planning for the closeout of the project. Due to the University’s year-end closeout procedures; most financial entries, including expenditures, will experience lengthy delays if processed between June 14and July 5. It is very important that you consider this financial ‘down time’ if your award closes on June 30.

You will want to consult your award documents to see what technical and financial reports are due, and when. If needed, the Office of Sponsored Programs will assist you with the request of a no-cost extension to the sponsor. Sponsored Programs Accounting staff will help to complete any necessary financial reports. If you require assistance or have questions about what needs to be done, please contact us as soon as possible!

Timely Topics  

Alert: NSF Closes Submission Door on Full Proposals Lacking 10 Required Sections

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has begun to reject submissions of full proposals that do not contain mandatory sections, such as project descriptions, references cited, biosketches, and plans for data management and post-doctoral mentoring, when appropriate.

An automated compliance monitoring system went live within FastLane as of March 18. The system checks full proposals, versus preliminary, for 10 required sections prior to submission. If any of the required sections are missing, you will not be able to submit and Sponsored Programs will be notified with an error message of why the proposal cannot be accepted in FastLane. Sponsored Programs will not be able to override the system. The required sections must be included or identified as not applicable.

The 10 required sections, as of March 18, are as follows:

  1. Project summary
  2. Data management plan
  3. Postdoctoral mentoring plan (if applicable)
  4. Project description
  5. References cited
  6. Biographical sketches
  7. Current and pending support
  8. Budget
  9. Budget justification
  10. Facilities, equipment, and other resources

Some of these sections may not be applicable to your project. For example you may not have included a postdoctoral worker on your project or have anything to say about the Facilities & Equipment available for the project. However, you will still need to upload a document for each required section stating the section is not applicable to your project.

Collaborative submissions have different requirements and will have a separate way of being tracked for completeness. As a reminder, on collaborative submissions, ONLY the lead institution loads a data managed plan which is shared among all linked applicants.

In order to ensure time to address potential rejections and fulfill the required component requirements, we urge you to allow extra time for your NSF submission. Often NSF proposals are submitted right before the deadline, but if a required section is missing, it may be too late to address to comply with the automated proposal checking system. Therefore, please do provide the office or upload your complete materials to FastLane at least five working days prior to agency deadlines to allow Office of Sponsored Programs to perform a thorough check of your materials.

Also, as of March 18, project reports, including annual, final, and interim, will no longer be submitted through FastLane. Instead, project reports need to be submitted through

Compliance Corner  

Office of Inspector General Sees Progress in National Science Foundation Awardees Submitting Reports on Time

The National Science Foundation has made progress in ensuring that awardees submit annual reports as required, but NSF’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has requested that the agency "take action to ensure" that all such reports are submitted on time, according to an audit dated March 4. Auditors reviewed 55,000 such reports that were "due or overdue from Oct. 1, 2010 to March 31, 2012," and found "the percentage of final reports submitted late declined from 53 percent in our prior [2004] audit to 20 percent for our current audit, while the percentage of final reports not submitted declined from 8 percent to 5 percent," they said, adding these represented "almost 12,000 final and annual reports submitted late and over 1,500 final and annual reports not submitted." Auditors said NSF agreed to implement corrective actions, which OIG said could involve "periodically providing to program officers, or instructing them to obtain, a listing of the awards they manage which have annual or final project reports that are at least 90 days late." It also cited NSF for failing to have a system in place to ensure that principal investigators are not assigned a second identifier when they switch institutions, as was the case with two who received new awards when they should not have, given that they had overdue reports.


JMU has had PI’s, and presently have PI’s, who are overdue on progress reports. Diligence in completing them on time is appreciated both at the university level and by the sponsor. It is important to note that failure to complete progress reports on time imperils future funding to individual PI’s and the institution in general. Furthermore, a late progress report can delay funding and possibly reduce a current award. Late or missing reports are a cause for termination of the award and loss of funding.

Press Release 13-043

NSF Supports U.S. Participation in the Launch of a New International Effort Aimed at Making Data Easier to Share Among Researchers: The Research Data Alliance will meet for the first time March 18-20 in Sweden

Many of the world's leading computational scientists across multiple disciplines gathered in Sweden March 18 to March 20 for the first plenary session of the new international Research Data Alliance (RDA)--an interdisciplinary organization whose goal is to accelerate data-driven innovation through research data sharing and exchange.

Spearheaded by RDA leaders from the U.S. government, European Commission, Australian government, and data community, the RDA's three-day launch will attract scientific leaders and experts who will work to accelerate discussion about removing barriers to sharing research data and stimulating more interaction and development within the data community.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is supporting U.S. participation in the RDA as part of a $2.5 million grant to promote coordination and develop infrastructure for data sharing.

"Although the importance of sharing and exchange of data, including public access, has been emphasized by multiple reports and many science agencies around the world, the actual sharing of data across national, international, and disciplinary boundaries has been challenging to implement," said Alan Blatecky, director of NSF's Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. "The establishment of RDA promises to break through inertia by 'just doing it'--that is, RDA supports mechanisms that enable data researchers and scientists to quickly adopt best practices and share and exchange data."
U.S. involvement is led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Computer Science Professor Francine Berman and Professor Beth A. Plale, of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University.

"The Research Data Alliance addresses a worldwide need for efforts that accelerate data-driven innovation," Berman said. "NSF, with U.S. and international partners, is expanding the global conversation on data-driven research. Community development of the RDA will contribute to the global infrastructure needed for new discovery and insights."

Currently, the Research Data Alliance is garnering community interest, international recognition of the importance of its goals, and a growing membership. March 18-20 will be the official launch of the organization and the first "working meeting" of the RDA. Speakers in the meeting include Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe; Farnam Jahanian, National Science Foundation head of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate; and His Excellency Duncan Lewis, Australian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO. Attendees will also hear panel discussions and addresses on the current status of the RDA, research data challenges and opportunities around the world, and data sharing in the humanities and life sciences.

For more details, please visit: First Meeting of New Research Data Alliance March 18 in Sweden Will Feature Leading 'Big Data' Experts and Others Working To Make Research Data Easier To Share.